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Showing posts with label Chemical Safety/MSDS. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chemical Safety/MSDS. Show all posts

Organization must Workers Effectively Trained on Hazardous Waste Decontamination Procedures

Workers Must Effectively Trained on Hazardous Waste Decontamination Procedures.

Topic: Workplace Safety

Decontamination is a vital process for employees who handle hazardous wastes because it removes or neutralizes contaminants that have accumulated on personnel and equipment. Decontamination serves the following purposes:

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  • It protects workers from hazardous substances that may contaminate and eventually permeate the protective clothing, respiratory equipment, tools, vehicles, and other equipment used on-site.
  • It protects all site personnel by minimizing the transfer of harmful materials into clean areas.
  • It helps prevent mixing of incompatible chemicals, and protects the community by preventing uncontrolled transportation of contaminants from the site.

Permeation Factors

If contaminants that have permeated a material are not removed by decontamination, they may continue to permeate to either surface of the material where they can cause an unexpected exposure.
Five major factors affect the extent of permeation:
  1. Contact time. The longer a contaminant is in contact with an object, the greater the probability and extent of permeation. For this reason, minimizing contact time is one of the most important objectives of a decontamination program.
  1. Concentration. Molecules flow from areas of high concentration to areas of low concentration. As concentrations of wastes increase, the potential for permeation of personal protective clothing increases.
  1. Temperature. An increase in temperature generally increases the permeation rate of contaminants.
  1. Size of contaminant molecules and pore space. Permeation increases as the contaminant molecule becomes smaller and as the pore space of the material to be permeated increases.
  1. Physical state of wastes. As a rule, gases, vapors, and low-viscosity liquids tend to permeate more readily than high-viscosity liquids or solids.

Decontamination Methods

Decontamination methods do one of the following:
  • Physically remove contaminants;
  • Inactivate contaminants by chemical detoxification or disinfection/ sterilization; or
  • Remove contaminants by a combination of both physical and chemical means.
Many factors, such as cost, availability, and ease of implementation, influence the selection of a decontamination method. In developing a decontamination program, you must address two key questions:
  • Is the decontamination method effective for the specific substances present?
  • Does the method itself pose any health or safety hazards?

Physical Removal

In many cases, gross contamination can be removed by such physical means as dislodging/displacement, rinsing, wiping off, and evaporation. Physical methods involving high pressure and/or heat should be used only as necessary and with caution since they can spread contamination and cause burns.
Contaminants that can be removed by physical means can be categorized as follows:
  • Loose contaminants. Dusts and vapors that cling to equipment and workers or become trapped in small openings, such as the weave of the clothing fabrics, can be removed with water or a liquid rinse. Removal of electrostatically attached materials can be enhanced by coating the clothing or equipment with antistatic solutions. These are available commercially as wash additives or antistatic sprays.
  • Adhering contaminants. Some contaminants adhere by forces other than electrostatic attraction. Adhesive qualities vary greatly with the specific contaminants and the temperature. For example, contaminants such as glues, cements, resins, and muds have strong adhesive properties and, consequently, are difficult to remove by physical means. Removal of adhesive contaminants can be enhanced through certain methods such as solidifying, freezing (e.g., using dry ice or ice water), adsorption or absorption (e.g., with powdered lime or kitty litter), or melting.
  • Volatile liquids. Volatile liquid contaminants can be removed from protective clothing or equipment by evaporation followed by a water rinse. Evaporation of volatile liquids can be enhanced by using steam jets. Take care to prevent inhalation of the vaporized chemicals.

Chemical Removal

Physical removal of gross contamination is usually followed by a wash/rinse process using cleaning solutions. These cleaning solutions normally utilize one or more of the following methods:

Dissolving contaminants. Chemical removal of surface contaminants can be accomplished by dissolving them in a solvent. The solvent must be chemically compatible with the equipment being cleaned. This is particularly important when decontaminating personal protective clothing constructed of organic materials that could be damaged or dissolved by organic solvents. In addition, care must be taken in selecting, using, and disposing of any organic solvents that may be flammable or potentially toxic. Organic solvents include alcohols, ethers, ketones, aromatics, straight-chain alkanes, and common petroleum products.

Surfactants. Surfactants augment physical cleaning methods by reducing adhesion forces between contaminants and the surface being cleaned, and by preventing redeposit of the contaminants. Household detergents are among the most common surfactants. Some detergents can be used with organic solvents to improve the dissolving and dispersal of contaminants into the solvent.

Solidification. Solidifying liquid or gel contaminants can enhance their physical removal. The mechanisms of solidification are:
  1. Moisture removal through the use of absorbents such as grounded clay or powdered lime;
  2. Chemical reactions via polymerization catalysts and chemical reagents; and
  3. Freezing using ice water.
Rinsing. Rinsing removes contaminants through dilution, physical attraction, and solubilization. Multiple rinses with clean solutions remove more contaminants than a single rinse with the same volume of solution. Continuous rinsing with large volumes will remove even more contaminants than multiple rinsings with a lesser total volume.

Disinfection/Sterilization. Chemical disinfectants are a practical means of inactivating infectious agents. Unfortunately, standard sterilization techniques are generally impractical for large equipment and for personal protective clothing and equipment. For this reason, disposable PPE is recommended for use with infectious agents.

Minimize the Potential for Accidents: Before, During, and After Hazardous Material Handling

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Minimize the Potential for Accidents: Before, During, and After Hazardous Material Handling

Depending on the hazardous material and the amount, hazards can range from moderate to deadly. Employer and Employees also need to realize that hazardous substances can be hazardous in different ways. They can be:
  • Corrosive (burn skin or eyes on contact)
  • Flammable or combustible (catch fire and burn)
  • Explosive (rapid expansion of gases)
  • Reactive (burn, explode, or release hazardous vapors on contact with air, water, or other chemicals)
  • Toxic (poisonous)
Before Handling

To prevent accidents and injuries, teach workers to take the right steps before handling a hazardous material. Before handling, employees should:
  • Read labels and MSDS to learn about hazards and required safety precautions.
  • Assemble and inspect PPE recommended by the label and MSDS.
  • Check for adequate ventilation.
  • Remove any items from the work area that could ignite or react with the hazardous material.
  • Know the location of fire extinguishers, alarms, first-aid kits, eyewash stations, emergency showers, etc.
  • Understand your emergency procedures in the event of a chemical spill or other accidental release.
  • Know the symptoms of exposure and the appropriate first aid.
  • Have the proper training and approval from their supervisor to carry out the operation.
While Handling

When employees handle hazardous materials, they need to take the following precautions:
  • Work carefully, anticipate anything that might go wrong, and have a plan for safely handling any problems that might occur.
  • Make sure hazardous substance containers are properly sealed and in good condition and not leaking.
  • Report any spills immediately and follow appropriate rules for activating cleanup procedures (for example, calling in an emergency response team for large spills).
  • Check with a supervisor immediately if they experience any problems they don't understand or can't handle.
  • Take immediate action in the event of any unprotected exposure (getting appropriate first aid, notifying a supervisor, and getting follow-up medical evaluation and treatment, if necessary).
After Handling

After employees are finished working with hazardous substances, they should:
  • Follow required decontamination procedures.
  • Remove and dispose of contaminated protective clothing and PPE carefully to avoid skin contact.
  • Wash thoroughly after removing PPE and work clothes.

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Material Safety Data Sheets

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Material Safety Data Sheets

A material safety data sheet is a technical document which provides detailed and comprehensive information on a controlled product related to: 
  • Health effects of exposure to the product  
  • Hazard evaluation related to the product’s handling, storage or use 
  • Measure to protect workers at risk of exposure
  • Emergency procedures.

The data sheet may be written, printed or otherwise expressed, and must meet the availability, design and content requirements of legislation. The legislation provides for flexibility of design and wording but requires that a minimum number of categories of information be completed and that all hazardous ingredients meeting certain criteria be listed subject to exemptions granted under the Hazardous Materials Information Review Act.

Categories :
  • Section 1—Identification—includes product identifier, manufacturer or distributor name, address, phone number, emergency phone number, recommended use, and restrictions on use
  • Section 2—Hazard(s) identification—includes all hazards regarding the chemical and required label elements
  • Section 3—Composition/Information on ingredients—includes information on chemical ingredients and trade secret claims
  • Section 4—First-aid measures—includes important immediate or delayed symptoms of exposure to a chemical and the required first aid treatment
  • Section 5—Fire-fighting measures—lists suitable extinguishing techniques, equipment, and chemical hazards from fire
  • Section 6—Accidental release measures—lists emergency procedures, protective equipment, and proper methods of containment and cleanup
  • Section 7—Handling and storage—lists precautions for safe handling and storage, including incompatibilities.
  • Section 8—Exposure controls/Personal protection—lists OSHA's permissible exposure limits (PELs), threshold limit values (TLVs), appropriate engineering controls, and personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Section 9—Physical and chemical properties—lists the chemical’s characteristics
  • Section 10—Stability and reactivity—lists chemical stability and possible hazardous reactions
  • Section 11—Toxicological information—includes routes of exposure (inhalation, ingestion, or absorption contact), symptoms, acute and chronic effects, and numerical measures of toxicity
  • Section 12—Ecological information—how the chemical might affect the environment and the duration of the effect
  • Section 13—Disposal considerations—describes safe handling of wastes and methods of disposal, including the disposal of any contaminated packaging
  • Section 14—Transportation information—includes packing, marking, and labeling requirements for hazardous chemical shipments
  • Section 15—Regulatory information—indicates regulations that apply to chemical
  • Section 16—Other information—includes date of preparation or last revision
  • Product identifier gives a name or number that enables you to identify the chemical and cross-reference the label to the SDS.
  • Supplier information tells you the name, address, and phone number of the manufacturer, importer, or other responsible party.
  • First aid information can help you act quickly and effectively in an emergency.
  • In case of fire, the label tells you how to extinguish it.
  • Signal word indicates the severity of the hazard.
  • Hazard statements describe the nature of the hazards.
  • Pictograms convey specific hazard information using symbols or graphics.
  • Precautionary statements describe recommended measures to minimize or prevent injury or illness due to exposure to the chemical or from improper handling or storage.
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Chemical Safety

Chemical Safety

Chemicals are a major part of our everyday life at home, work and play.

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Examples include toxics, corrosives, solvents and numerous other substances. As long as we take proper precautions, these substances can be handled safely.

Chemicals that you use at home include gasoline, paints, fertilizers, lawn chemicals, bug spray, paint strippers, kerosene, bleach and other household cleaners.

However, chemicals you may use at work are facility-specific solvents, laboratory chemicals, fuels, paint, office copier chemicals, correction fluid, lubricants and corrosives.

We are exposed to chemicals by these ways.

  • Inhalation — Breathing in dusts, mists and vapors -  
    • Example: Working with bags of concrete at home without a respirator
  • Ingestion — Eating contaminated food - 
    • Example: Having lunch in the work area where there are airborne contaminants
  • Absorption — Skin contact with a chemical - 
    • Example: Contact dermatitis or an eye irritation
  • Injection — Forcing an agent into the body through a needle or a high-pressure device - 
    • Example: Needle stick or misuse of a high-pressure washer
You can protect yourself against chemical hazards by:
  • Reading container labels, material safety data sheets (MSDSs) and safe-work instructions before you handle a chemical;
  • Using specified personal protective equipment (PPE) that may include chemical-splash goggles, a respirator, safety gloves, apron, steel-toed shoes, safety glasses with side shields, etc. Ensure the PPE fits properly and you are trained in its use;
  • Inspecting all PPE before you use them. Look for defects in the equipment such as cracks, missing parts, rips, etc. Ensure your respirator has the proper chemical cartridge for the particular chemical hazard. Change cartridges when it is necessary;
  • Knowing the location of safety showers and eyewash stations and how to use them;
  • Washing your hands before eating, especially after handling chemicals;
  • Leaving your contaminated clothing at work. If you wear the clothes home, you can expose your family to the hazards.
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Chemical Housekeeping

Chemical Housekeeping

Good housekeeping is an absolute requirement when there are hazardous materials in your workplace.

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Just as a quarterback has to keep his eyes open for changes in the defense or certain other telltale moves of opposing players, we need to keep a lookout for danger signals on the job in order to keep your "team" safe and successful.

The importance of good housekeeping is no a joke to anyone who wants to avoid the hazards presented by sloppy habits—especially when it comes to chemicals that can catch fire or explode.

Following are some goals of good chemical housekeeping. As you read through them, be thinking about your facility's housekeeping practices and how effective they are at maintaining safe conditions.
  • You can open any storage cabinet and tell at a glance which products are there and whether any containers have leaked or spilled.
  • There is a list nearby to check off chemicals that need reordering.
  • Chemical containers are situated safely—that is, away from the edges of shelves, away from high traffic areas, and out of the way of swinging doors.
  • Empty containers are marked as such and properly disposed of right away or at least staged at a labeled bin or shelf so they don’t get confused with products still in use. You cannot find a container without a label anywhere in your business.
  • At the end of a shift, your employees tightly close chemical containers they are using and return them to their designated storage space.
  • You have supplies and personal protective equipment (e.g., safety goggles and protective gloves) for safely cleaning up small spills in each work space in a location that is easy to get to and well marked, and employees are trained about when and how to use them.

How would you rate your facility's performance on these key chemical housekeeping issues?

If you can't say that you are 100 percent sure that your entire facility is 100 percent in compliance with housekeeping rules and that chemical storage and handling is 100 percent safe, then it's time to make some changes. Don't wait for the fire, explosion, and injuries or fatalities.

Flammable Liquids in Industrial Plants

Flammable Liquids in Industrial Plants

Good housekeeping is an absolute requirement when there are hazardous materials in your work. Most industrial plants have some kind of flammable liquids on site. And since the primary hazards are explosion and fire, the consequences of improper storage and handling can be disastrous.
Refer 29 CFR 1910.106(a)(19)
Flammable Liquids

"Flammable Liquid" means any liquid having a flashpoint at or below 199.4°F (93°C).

Flammable liquids are divided into four categories as follows:
  • Category 1 includes liquids having flashpoints below 73.4°F (23°C) and having a boiling point at or below 95°F (35°C).
  • Category 2 includes liquids having flashpoints below 73.4°F (23°C) and having a boiling point above 95°F (35°C).
  • Category 3 includes liquids having flashpoints at or above 73.4°F (23°C) and at or below 140°F (60°C). When a Category 3 liquid with a flashpoint at or above 100°F (37.8°C) is heated for use to within 30°F (16.7°C) of its flashpoint, it must be handled in accordance with the requirements for a Category 3 liquid with a flashpoint below 100°F (37.8°C).
  • Category 4 includes liquids having flashpoints above 140°F (60°C) and at or below 199.4°F (93°C). When a Category 4 flammable liquid is heated for use to within 30°F (16.7°C) of its flashpoint, it must be handled in accordance with the requirements for a Category 3 liquid with a flashpoint at or above 100°F (37.8°C).
When liquid with a flashpoint greater than 199.4°F (93°C) is heated for use to within 30°F (16.7°C) of its flashpoint, it must be handled in accordance with the requirements for a Category 4 flammable liquid.

Flammable Liquids in Industrial Plants

Rules for flammable liquids in industrial plants are found at 29 CFR 1910.106(e). Here's a quick review.

Incidental storage or use of flammable liquids. All storage must be in tanks or closed containers. The quantity of liquids allowed in manufacturing/production areas (outside of primary storage) is limited according to the liquid category and whether a container or a tank is utilized for storage. Transfer of liquids must be separated from other operations by adequate distance or fire-resistant construction. A closed piping system, safety cans, or a gravity system may be used for transfer. Air pressure transfer is prohibited. Adequate ventilation must be maintained. Means of spill or leakage prevention, control, cleanup, and disposal must be provided. Any possible source of ignition must be eliminated when using Category 1 liquids.

Unit-physical operations. Physical operations are restricted to operations not involving chemical change. All buildings and equipment must be accessible for fire-fighting purposes. Unstable liquids and small-scale chemical processes must be isolated by a 2-hour (minimum) firewall. Emergency drainage systems must direct flammable liquids to a safe location. Appropriate ventilation must be maintained when using Category 1 liquids so as to provide adequate air exchange, discharge to a safe location, and proper ventilation of floor areas or pits. Equipment must be of appropriate design for use with Category 1 liquids so as to limit flammable vapor-air mixtures.

Tank vehicle and tank car loading and unloading. The distance of separation from aboveground tanks, warehouses, other plant buildings, or nearest adjoining property lines is based on liquid category. Fire control. Fire control equipment, water supply, and any special extinguishing equipment must be adequately maintained and periodically inspected and be appropriate in quantity and type for the potential hazards. Local fire marshals must be consulted to determine specific requirements.

Fire control. Fire control equipment, water supply, and any special extinguishing equipment must be adequately maintained and periodically inspected and be appropriate in quantity and type for the potential hazards. Local fire marshals must be consulted to determine specific requirements.

Sources of ignition. Possible sources of ignition must be carefully identified and controlled. Dispensing of Category 1 liquids must be done with proper grounding.

Electrical. Locations (including surrounding areas) where flammable vapor-air mixtures may exist under normal conditions must meet Class I, Division 1 standards. Locations (including surrounding areas) where flammable vapor-air mixtures may exist under abnormal conditions must meet Division 2 standards. If only Category 3 and 4 liquids are used, ordinary electrical equipment is permitted.

Maintenance and repair. Maintenance and repair, including hot work, are permitted only under the supervision of a responsible individual in charge. This individual must make an inspection of the area before and after work.

Housekeeping. Housekeeping must be adequate to control leaks and prevent spills. Aisle space must be adequate for fire response access. Combustible wastes and residues must be minimized, stored properly, and disposed of daily. Ground area around buildings and unit operating areas must be kept free of weeds, trash, or other unnecessary combustible materials.

Emergency Chemical Spill Response

Emergency Chemical Spill Response
Chemical Spill

In the event of a chemical spill, the person who caused the spill is responsible for cleaning it up. It’s also their responsibility to have clean-up materials and equipment readily available. For these, and other safety reasons, it’s very important to know the properties of the chemicals you work with or handle. Use the SDS sheets on each chemical to learn about the level of protection required, proper handling and cleanup of chemicals used. Let’s review the guidelines for responding to emergency chemical spills.

Materials & Equipment for Cleanup
  • PPE: Chemical resistant gloves, aprons, footwear, and splash proof eye/face protection. You should only use respiratory protection if you’ve been trained, approved, and fit tested for proper and safe use
  • Absorbents: spill socks, vermiculite, or clay (kitty litter) can be used to contain and soak up spills
  • Containers: Approved plastic bags can be used to collect absorbents on small spills. Five-gallon pails or 20-gallon drums with liners may be appropriate for larger quantities
  • Pick-up equipment: a brush and scoop, or broom and shovel, for picking up contaminated absorbent material
  • Neutralizers: made for acid or alkalines, many show a color change when neutralization is complete
  • Detergents and cleaning supplies: to thoroughly clean surfaces of any residual chemical
Handling Chemical Spills
  • If the chemical is hazardous and in an enclosed area, immediately alert room occupants and evacuate the area, if necessary
  • If there is a fire or medical attention is needed, contact 108 (India) for other countries local emergency contact number.
  • Attend to anyone who may be contaminated. Contaminated clothing and jewelry must be removed. Immediately flush the skin with water for at least fifteen minutes. Get medical attention and provide information on the chemical to medical personnel. Check the SDS for any delayed or residual effects. Clothing must be laundered before reuse
  • If a volatile or flammable material is spilled, immediately warn everyone in the area, control sources of ignition and ventilate the area
  • Use personal protective equipment as appropriate to the hazards (Refer to the Safety Data Sheet or other references).
  • If the spill is large, if there’s been a release to the environment, or if no one knowledgeable about spill clean-up is available, call 108
  • Never enter a contaminated atmosphere without protection or use a respirator without approval and training. If you need to use a respirator, be sure there is another person outside the spill area in communication in case of an emergency
  • Contain the spill as soon as possible with a row of absorbents. Protect floor drains or other means from environmental release. Spill socks and absorbents can be placed around drains, as needed
  • Loose spill control materials should be distributed over the entire spill area, working from the outside, circling to the inside. This reduces the chance of splash or spreading of the spilled chemical. Bulk absorbents and many types of spill pillows may not work for every chemical. Make sure the spill cleanup materials are appropriate to the chemical
  • When spilled materials have been absorbed, put the materials in a container with a broom and scoop or shovel
  • If the spill is on outside soil, use a shovel to dig up any contaminated earth. Dispose of the contaminated dirt with the absorbent material to prevent the chemical from entering ground water
  • Label container(s) with hazardous waste stickers listing the contents as Spill Debris containing the chemical name
  • Remember that using an adsorbent doesn’t alter the chemical properties of that chemical
  • Decontaminate the surface where the spill occurred using a mild detergent and water
Check with the local EPA office or local fire, police, or health departments for disposal instructions of hazardous waste, and directions to a suitable disposal site

Process Safety Management - Chemical Safety

Process Safety Management- Chemical Safety

Chemical Safety
Process safety management of highly hazardous chemicals prevents or minimizes the consequences of catastrophic releases of toxic, reactive, flammable or explosive chemicals. These releases can result in toxic, fire or explosion hazards.

This process addresses activities such as using, storing, manufacturing, handling or moving hazardous chemicals. 

Employee Participation
Workers should be involved in identifying and analyzing workplace hazards and understand how they are informed about analysis results. 

Process Safety Management Information
Ensure there’s written process-safety information that covers the hazardous chemical processes used in your workplace. 

Operating Procedures
Companies must develop and implement written procedures that provide clear instructions for safely conducting activities in each covered process. The procedures must be accurate, clearly written and revised periodically to make sure that they reflect current operations. 

Training Documentation
Each worker involved in operating a process needs to receive and understand the training required by the initial training, the refresher training and other training documentation. Documentation should include workers who have been trained, their training dates and the method used to verify that they understood the training. 

Initial Training
Workers already knowledgeable on an operating process can be certified in writing that they are able to perform their duties. 

Working with Contractors
A contract-employee injury-and-illness log, covering contractors’ work in process areas, will be maintained. This requirement applies only to contract employees performing maintenance or repair, turnaround, major renovation or specialty work on or adjacent to a covered process. 

Contract-Employer Responsibility
Contract employers need to document that their employees have received and understood the training required by the initial training, the refresher training and the training documentation. Contract employers must document the names of employees who have been trained, their training dates and the method used to verify that they understood the training. 

Mechanical Integrity
Written procedures must be in place to ensure process equipment works properly and receives periodic maintenance.
Look for documentation of each inspection and test performed on process equipment. Records must include test date, the inspector’s name, a description of the activity and the inspection results. 

Hot-Work Permit
A hot-work permit is required for hot-work operations conducted on or near a covered process. The permit must show the dates authorized for hot work and identify the equipment to be worked on. 

Managing Change
To ensure workplace changes affecting chemicals, technology, equipment or facilities are handled safely, written procedures must be in place to manage modifications to equipment, procedures, raw materials and processing conditions other than replacement in kind. 

Emergency Planning
Be aware of your company’s emergency plan. Written requirements should include the following:
  • Emergency-escape procedures and escape-route assignments
  • Emergency procedures for workers who operate critical plant operations before they evacuate
  • Emergency procedures to account for all workers after emergency evacuation has been completed
  • Worker rescue and medical duties
  • Instructions for workers reporting fires and other emergencies
  • The name of those responsible for managing the plan 
Use these safety guidelines to understand and enhance your role in process safety management.

Hazardous Waste

Hazardous waste consists of discarded substances that can harm humans, other living organisms or the environment. OSHA defines hazardous material as any substance that requires a Safety Data Sheet (SDS). The Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) standard requires companies to have a written “Safety and Health Program” to protect employees who are exposed to hazardous waste, do hazardous-waste cleanup, or respond to hazardous-waste emergencies.

Hazard Communication

Ensures all employees know about the chemical hazards at the worksite, and how to protect themselves. A HAZWOPER program identifies the hazardous chemicals at the jobsite, explains the labels that are used on containers of hazardous chemicals, explains how to read a safety data sheet and provides training on the hazards before you start your job and when work processes change.

Emergency Response

Emergencies are unpredictable, but response can be effective with proper planning. Planning and coordinating with off-site responders will include decontamination procedures; personnel roles, lines of authority, and communication procedures; emergencies and how to prevent them; safe distances and places of refuge; site control and security; evacuation routes and procedures; emergency medical treatment and first aid; communication procedures; necessary emergency equipment, including PPE.

Training Requirements

Emergency-response training must be documented and cover the following topics elements of the response plan, procedures for handling emergencies, the necessary PPE, and how to recognize hazards.
For a Safety and Health Program to be effective we need to rehearse the plan’s procedures regularly and integrate the plan with the emergency response plans of local, state, and federal agencies. You should keep current with and review it frequently.

SDS Guidelines

Chemicals present a wide range of health and physical hazards. Millions of workers are exposed to hundreds of thousands of hazardous chemical products daily. All companies with hazardous chemicals in their workplaces must have a written hazard communication program.

A company must make sure that all containers are labeled according to the Globally Harmonized Standard (GHS), and that employees are provided with access to Safety Data Sheets (SDS), which have replaced Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), and that training is provided for all potentially exposed employees.

The goal of a Hazard Communication Program is to make sure all employees understand the chemical hazards in the workplace, and how to protect themselves from chemical related illnesses and injuries.

A key part of a high quality Hazard Communication program is the maintaining of a file of Safety Data Sheets for all the hazardous chemicals we use, and to make sure our employees have the necessary training to understand the terminology contained in the SDS. Let’s review the key information contained in the SDS.

  1. Product & Company Identification: The name of the chemical as it appears on the label; Manufacturer's name and address; Emergency telephone number; Date prepared and the signature of the preparer
  2. Hazard Identification: Routes of entry; Emergency information, Labelling symbols; Potential health effects
  3. Composition: The specific chemical identity, its formula and any common names it is known by; Lethal dose information of ingredients: its Chemical Abstracts Service number (CAS) that identifies the specific chemical
  4. First Aid Measures: Emergency first aid procedures
  5. Fire Fighting Measures: Flash point; Flammable limits; Extinguishing media; Special fire-fighting procedures; Unusual fire and explosion hazards
  6. Accidental Release Measures: Leak and spill cleanup procedures
  7. Handling and Storage: Precautions to take in handling and storing
  8. Exposure Control & PPE: Permissible exposure limits (PELs); Threshold Limit Value (TLV); Specific engineering controls and PPE requirements
  9. Physical/Chemical Properties: Boiling point; Vapor pressure; Vapor density; Solubility in water; Appearance and odor; Specific gravity; Melting point; Evaporation rate
  10. Stability and Reactivity: Stability; Incompatibility; Reactivity conditions; Hazardous decomposition or by-products
  11. Toxicological Information: Effects of acute and chronic exposure; Toxicological effects; Carcinogenicity; Signs and symptoms of exposure; Medical conditions severely aggravated by exposure
  12. Ecological Information: Effects of the chemical on the environment
  13. Disposal Information: Proper methods of disposal
  14. Transport Information: DOT or other organizations shipping requirements
  15. Regulatory Information: OHS and EPA classification information
  16. Other: Any additional information required by law or provided by the manufacturer
Remember, when exposed to chemicals, always take the time to review the SDS and familiarize yourself with the hazards, safe handling and proper First Aid measures associated with the chemical.

Chemical Spill Response Training

Chemical Spill Response Training

Topic: Training

Why Training Requires: 

Spill Response Training
  • emical spills can cause great damage in the workplace and in the community.
  • As such, they need to be immediately identified and reported so that they can be contained as quickly as possible.
  • Training is key to stopping chemical spills in their tracks.

Here are some key actions employees need to be trained to take if they identify a chemical spill:
  • Once you have identified a spill and safely evacuated the spill’s immediate area, it is safe to call for help.
  • Contact your company’s emergency response team by following the procedures outlined in the Emergency Response Plan.
  • Request additional resources if necessary.
  • Ask for instructions on what you should do until help arrives.

When reporting the spill, you need to provide responders with some vital facts on the ground, such as:
  • Information to the emergency response coordinator, including the name(s) of the chemical(s) involved in the release and the hazards of the chemical(s).
  • Description of the location of the release and how it has released, such as a gas into the air, a liquid spray, or a liquid flowing over the ground
  • Estimation of the quantity of released material.
  • Description of the site conditions such as fire, fumes, and smoke. Describe if the chemical release has reached or soon will reach environmentally sensitive areas.
  • Description of whether the area has been evacuated and if there are victims of the release that will need rescue or emergency medical treatment.
To protect yourself and others:
  • Once you have determined that a release of a hazardous chemical has occurred, report it to others in the immediate area so that they can evacuate with you.
  • Signal an alarm or yell to warn the other employees.
  • Retreat to a predetermined assembly area or to a shelter-in-place that is a safe distance from the spill or release.
How to secure the area:
  • Once you have reported the spill or release to the response personnel, secure the area around the release to keep unauthorized personnel out while waiting for the response team to arrive.
  • Use caution tape, rope, cones, and barricades to create a safe zone around the area. Your emergency response plan might call for the use of specific equipment; however, you may be required to barricade with whatever is available.
Up to this point, a first responder at the awareness level (this is a level of emergency response training) has been in control of the spill scene. Once response personnel arrive, they will take over responsibility for the incident.

Customize your training around the answers to such questions as, “what reporting procedures are used at your company?” and “do you respond to spills in-house?”

How To Handle Chemical Spills

How To Handle Chemical Spills

Your safety training helps ensure things go right when you do your job. Your training also includes what to do when things go wrong. You are trained to prevent spills when you work with chemicals, but your training also tells you how to respond to one.
Handling Chemical Spills

Unplanned release of a chemical can have devastating effects. Skin and eye burns, damage to the lungs, fire and explosion, corrosive damage to materials, pollution of air, soil and water, and danger to the public are just some of the possible consequences of a chemical spill.

Chemical spills can be in the form of liquids, solids such as pellets, gases and vapors. They can be flammable (quick to burn or explode), corrosive (damaging to human tissue or other materials), or toxic (poisonous to humans and other living things).

The time to deal with a chemical spill is long before it happens, by rehearsing what you will do and obtaining the supplies you will need for self-protection and cleanup.

First, you need to learn all you can about the chemicals used and stored in your work area. What are the hazards? What would happen if the chemical were exposed to air, oxygen, a spark, water or even motion? Is the chemical corrosive, causing burns to human tissue?

If breathed in, could it damage the respiratory system, cause unconsciousness or death? Are there possible long-term effects from chemical exposure, such as cancer? You will get this type of information from your training, the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), container label and other sources.

Here are some basic procedures you can learn for dealing with a spill. Be sure to get the specific steps you should take for the chemicals you work with.

  • Alert people in the area of the spill.
  • Call the appropriate emergency numbers, which should be posted at each telephone.
  • Attend to any injured persons, removing them from exposure and getting to a safety shower if necessary.
  • Depending on the nature of the chemical, you might need to open windows and doors to provide ventilation, close up the affected area to contain spills or turn off heat and other ignition sources.
  • If you are trained and authorized, use the appropriate materials to absorb or contain the spill. For instance, you might have kits to neutralize spilled acids or bases. For other chemicals, you could be required to sprinkle an absorbent litter on a spill, or surround the spill with a dam.
Do not attempt cleanup under these circumstances:

  • You don’t know what the spilled material is.
  • You don’t have the necessary protection or the right equipment to do the job.
  • The spill is too large.
  • The spill is highly toxic.
  • You feel symptoms of exposure.
Learn your part in the spill response plan for your department. If there is no such plan, ask your supervisor to work with the management and safety department in establishing one.

Safety Seeds: Handling of Dangerous Substances Chemicals

Topics: Handling of Dangerous Substances Chemicals

Dangerous substances should be handled and stored under the supervision of competent person who is familiar with the risks and the precautions to be taken. In case of doubt as to the nature of the risk ad the precautions to be taken, the necessary instructions should be obtained from the competent authority.

When dangerous substances are to be handled or stored, the workers concerned should be given adequate information concerning their nature and the special precautions to be observed in handling them.  

Special precautions,such as the provision of mats, sling nets, boxes and high sided pallets, should be taken to prevent breakage of or damage to containers of dangerous substances.

If containers of dangerous substances are broken or damaged to a dangerous extent work should be stopped and the workers concerned removed to a safe place until the danger has been eliminated.

When highly flammable materials is being handled, special measures should be taken to ensure that an incipient fire can be controlled immediately.

When necessary , non-sparking tools should be provided and used in explosive atmosphere.

Where corrosive substances are handled or stored, special precautions should be taken to prevent damage to the containers and to render any spillage harmless.

Workers handling harmful substances should thoroughly wash their hands and face with soap and water before taking any food or drink.

Chemical Labels - Part 2

Chemical Labels - Section 2

Labels on chemicals are your first line of defense to know what you are using and what, if any, special precautions or PPE should be used.

Remember the following important guidelines:

  • Every container should have a label. DON’T USE IT IF IT DOESN’T!
  • Report missing or illegible labels.
  • Even portable containers should have labels.
  • Read labels before using.
  • Always follow the instructions on labels.
  • Ask your supervisor if you don’t understand the information.

In conclusion always remember to:

  • Read the label first before starting to work with any chemical.
  • Always refer to the MSDS for more detailed information.
  • Ask a supervisor if you have any questions.
  • Most important: use the information on labels and MSDSs to protect your health and safety.

Chemical Labels - Section 1

Chemical Labels - Section 1

Labels on chemicals are your first line of defense to know what you are using and what, if any, special precautions or PPE should be used.

Many chemicals and other substances are hazardous if not used properly. You can be safe if you know which are hazardous, what the hazards are, and how to work with them safely. You can detect many of these hazards by reading the labels.

Every container of hazardous material has a label—a good place to start. Label information usually includes:

  • What’s in the container
  • What type of hazard might be present
  • Special instructions
  • How to protect yourself
  • Basic first aid.

The label doesn’t tell everything, but it’s a good starting point—read it first!

Chemical Label Colors And Numbers

Chemical Label Colors And Numbers

When your using the various chemicals we use, watch for special symbols—pictures with words, such as flammable, poison, etc.

Labels also have special colors, which represent the following:

  • Red means fire hazard
  • Yellow means reactivity hazard
  • Blue means health hazard.

Labels also have special number codes, which represent the following:

  • 0 = means minimal hazard
  • 1 = means slight hazard
  • 2 = means moderate hazard
  • 3 = means serious hazard
  • 4 = means severe hazard

The white part of the label can show different types of information such as:

  • On National Fire Protection Association labels, white shows special information such as acid, corrosive, radioactive, etc.
  • On Hazardous Material Identification System (HMIS) labels, the white part tells what kind of PPE to use.

Read the labels first and then consult the MSDS if there are any more questions.

Elements of a Chemical Hygiene Plan

Elements of a Chemical Hygiene Plan

If you're required to have a chemical hygiene, make sure it contains these elements.
Since 1990, OSHA has required facilities engaged in the use of chemicals in a laboratory to develop and implement a written chemical hygiene plan (CHP). OSHA requires these facilities to set forth procedures, equipment, PPE, work practices, training, and policies to help protect employees from the health hazards presented by hazardous chemicals used in their workplace.
The CHP must be easily accessible and designed to protect employees from health hazards associated with hazardous chemicals in their specific laboratories. The plan can be maintained and available electronically as long as employees know how to access it.
The CHP has eight elements. It must:
  1. Describe standard operating procedures.
  2. Define criteria for implementation of control measures, which means deciding how the employer is going to protect employees. There is a general priority of protecting employees. The three-tier system: engineering controls, administrative controls, and PPE.
  3. Define (and document) procedures to maintain proper functioning of chemical fume hoods and protective equipment. This includes procedures such as checking the flow rate of hoods and verifying that equipment is working properly.
  4. Provide employee information and training.
  5. Provide criteria for prior approval. Where you have processes or procedures where employees have to get prior approval (e.g., working alone) criteria allow employers to make arrangements for protection.
  6. Provide criteria for medical consultation and examination.
  7. Designate persons responsible for implementation of the CHP. Employers must designate responsibilities to a variety of people both in and out of lab, including the chemical hygiene officer (CHO) and others. The highest up person should sign the plan, saying that he/she has authorized the plan.
  8. Provide employee protection from particularly hazardous substances. Inventory chemicals and decide what in this category—for example, carcinogens and extremely reactive materials.

Employer Responsibilities under the CHP

  • Develop and implement a written CHP
  • Inventory all hazardous chemicals and ensure each has a safety data sheet (SDS)
  • Ensure that labels on incoming containers of hazardous chemicals are not removed or defaced
  • Maintain any SDSs that are received with incoming shipments of hazardous chemicals, and ensure that they are readily accessible to laboratory employees
  • Train employees on physical and health hazards and protective measures
  • Provide medical monitoring for employees (under certain circumstances)
  1. Employee Responsibilities under the CHP

  • Follow all procedures and policies relating to chemicals and follow appropriate laboratory procedures and rules as outlined in the CHP
  • Refrain from operations without proper instruction and/or authorization
  • Seek out and request information
  • Wear appropriate PPE
  • Report accidents and near-misses immediately, even minor injuries or exposures.

    2. Responsibilities of the CHO

The chemical hygiene officer has overall responsibility for maintaining and establishing compliance with this plan and providing technical guidance. Specifically, the CHO:
  • Updates the CHP, chemical and SDS inventories
  • Provide training to all laboratory personnel
  • Ensures that laboratory employees follow SOPs
  • Ensures that safety equipment and engineering controls are utilized
  • Ensures that personal protective equipment is utilized
  • Conducts and documents inspections
  • Assists in development of procedures for new or particularly hazardous operations
  • Accident investigation and corrective action
  • Maintains records

Responding to Chemical Spills: First Critical Actions

Responding to Chemical Spills: First Critical Actions

Topic: Chemical Safety

When hazardous chemicals are present at a facility, it is essential for employees to be trained to respond effectively in the event of a spill.

Here are some key actions employees should take immediately if they detect a spill:
  • Once a spill has been identified, employees should evacuate the spill’s immediate area, retreating to a predetermined assembly area or shelter-in-place that is a safe distance from the spill or release.
  • When they are safe, workers should report the spill, contacting the company’s emergency response team by following the procedures outlined in the Emergency Response Plan.
  • Employees should ask for instructions about what they should do until help arrives.
When reporting the spill, employees should provide responders with key information, such as:
  • The name(s) of the chemical(s) involved in the release and the hazards of the chemical(s)
  • The location of release and how it has released, such as a gas into the air, a liquid spray, or liquid flowing over the ground, etc.
  • An estimate the quantity of released material
  • Site conditions such as fire, fumes, and smoke
  • Indications that the chemical release has reached or soon will reach environmentally sensitive areas
  • Whether the area has been evacuated and if there are victims of the release that will need rescue or emergency medical treatment
Employees should also be trained to secure the area, if appropriate. For example:
  • If safe to do so, designated employees may secure the area around the release to keep unauthorized personnel out while waiting for the response team to arrive.
  • They may use caution tape, rope, cones, and barricades to create a safe zone around the area. (Your emergency response plan might call for the use of specific equipment; however, employees may be initially have to barricade with whatever is available.)
  • Turn over control of the spill area to emergency response personnel once they arrive on the scene.

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